Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Recurring Conversations With my Husband: That's Not Dishwasher Safe

My husband and I have been married for eight years, living together for 13, and together for even longer than that.

We have these recurring conversations  where we are talking about the same thing and saying the same thing and it makes me feel a little crazy, but I mostly think it's charming and hilarious. I mean, don't all married couples have the same arguments and conversations with their spouses?

I hope so. I mean, these are some of the things that make marriage entertaining.

Anyways, this one conversation that we always have has to do with Nelson putting things in the dishwasher that are not dishwasher safe. Or, perhaps, putting things in the bottom rack that are Top! Rack! Only!

We talk about this maybe once every two months.

The main things in our house that are not dishwasher safe are some of the boys' water bottles and wooden utensils. The items that are top rack only are reusable plastic storage containers and two of the kids' plates.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "But how is Nelson supposed to know what's dishwasher safe, and what is top rack only?"

Well, because I tell him. Also, it listed right on many of these items, but I am also right there, very clearly saying, "Hey, this is not dishwasher safe, okay? You have to hand wash this every time or it will get ruined."

And, he seems to remember these things for a while, but then after a few months, the water bottles will start making their way into the dishwasher, and getting ruined, or a lid to a plastic container will be placed on the bottom shelf and fall onto the heating element and get all melty.

So, at that point I say, "Hey, so remember how I told you that XYZ is not dishwasher safe/needs to go on the top rack? Look at what happened [shows melty lid/ruined water bottle]." And Nelson is all, "Oh, yeah, right."

But here's the thing (I know, finally, right?). Now, I can allow for the fact that he may forget which of the plethora of water bottles are dishwasher safe and which are not. That is totally feasible.

What I don't get, is how is he forgetting that wooden utensils (spoons, citrus reamer, etc.) are not dishwasher safe, and that plastic containers are top rack only? Because that has been the case for the entire time we've had a dishwasher (eight years in April). These facts have not changed and I have relayed these facts several times.

Truth be told, I'm tired of relaying these facts. Almost as tired as I am of my wooden spoons cracking and my reusable plastic containers warping.

So part of me, as I unloaded the dishwasher this morning and found my wooden citrus reamer in the utensil basket (sigh) feels annoyed that we have to have the dishwasher safe conversation YET AGAIN and another part of me feels annoyed that I have to come off as a nag because, OH MY GOD WE'VE HAD THIS CONVERSATION AT LEAST 25 TIMES. And yet a third part of me is laughing at the complete ridiculousness of the entire situation.

I mean, what is the deal? Does he have early onset Alzheimer's? Is he genuinely forgetting basic, longstanding dishwasher etiquette? It is really so cumbersome to hand wash a citrus reamer the he would rather put it in the dishwasher and then have me tell him all about it later? I would think the threat of having me talk to him about a fucking citrus reamer would be enough to get him just to hand wash it, as is clearly stipulated in Jenni's Rules of Dishwashers (and, don't even, because you know you have dishwasher rules, too).

Seriously. I don't even want to be part of that conversation, because frankly it makes me sound crazy.

What's actually going to happen here is that in the interest of maintaining marital accord, I will not mention the citrus reamer. I mean, I get that it is ridiculous and that I'm slightly obsessing here. This is a thing with me. I will continue to muse over why my wooden utensils find their way into my dishwasher, despite my pleas to hand wash them so as to preserve their integrity.

I will soldier on. These are the things we do.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Six Months

So, it's been six months.

In all honesty, I'd half (more than half) decided to just never blog again. I'm working fully time now, so writing for pleasure like this seems like a luxury. But, for the past few weeks, I've been missing it.

These past six months have been quite a transition for our family, what with me starting work full time, Oscar beginning kindergarten and Miles starting preschool. There have been some tough moments, one in particular when Oscar burst in to tears at bedtime as I was leaving for a meeting, telling me he hoped I'd be fired so I could be home with him all the time.


For the most part, though, things have been okay. Nelson has really stepped up to the plate, taking on significantly more child and meal responsibilities with minimal complaint. I mean, yes, he told my brother a few months ago that things were "brutal" but I'm sure he was just exaggerating.

Last was was this particularly busy week, with two co-workers out, one unexpectedly, that sort of ended up more than doubling my workload for a few days (hence today's comp day). I was working crazy long hours and Nelson was running herd on the kids and dinner and really everything.

He was chatting with a friend on the phone toward the end of the week, and as I was walking through the room, I heard Nelson say, "Yeah, Jenni's been working a lot lately so I've been taking care of the kids a lot," and I sort of paused, and then he quickly added, "Which is fine because I'm their dad."

This just struck me as terribly funny, first, that he mildly complained about the extra child care (fair enough); second, that he sort of dismissed his own complaining by acknowledging that, as a dad, he should be caring for his children.

And, really, this has been tough for me, giving up the role as sole primary care giver for the boys. Nelson has been shouldering dental visits and well child exams, homework with Oscar, Lego builds, and bath times. And, while, as he said, he is their dad, this is still all new for him and pretty significant.

Anyway, so here's where I'll stop for now. I'll try to summon up a cute kid story for my next post. Like six months from now.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oscar Commits Larceny

I pack Oscar's lunch. I know that our school system works hard to make sure the hot lunch they provide is affordable and nutritious, but I just like knowing that I prepared what's going into his body.

When Oscar came home on Tuesday, his second day of school, he reported that he'd eaten some little pieces of brown meat, some corn and chips for lunch. Since I packed him a cream cheese sandwich, an apple, chocolate milk and a cheese stick, I was a bit surprised. 

We chatted and it sounded like he forgot his lunch box when the kids went to the lunch room, and instead of telling his teacher he needed to go back to the classroom, he just went through the lunch line. 

Okay, no big. I want the kid to eat, it's the first week, he's nervous, figuring things out. So he ate some kind of taco salad. It's fine. I reminded him that I pack his lunch and that if he forgets it, he should tell his teacher and so he can go back to the classroom for his lunchbox.

Then, Thursday, Oscar comes home and tells me, "The lunch lady says I need to bring money." Huh. "But Oscar," I say, "I pack your lunch. You don't need to go through the lunch line." 

"I need to stay with my class, mom," he said. 

Now, this makes a lot of sense, really. I know they drill into the kindergartners that they need to stay in line and stay with their class so no one gets lost, particularly at Oscar's school, which is one of the most crowded in our entire county. Also, more than 80 percent of the kids qualify for free or reduced lunch, so it's likely that most if not all kids in his class are going through that lunch line. 

What doesn't make sense is the fact he had been coming home with an empty lunchbox every day. When I quizzed him, he admitted to eating part of his lunch and part of the school lunch, but drinking BOTH chocolate milks. I'm pretty sure "buying" school lunch is a ploy for Oscar to get double chocolate milk. 

I immediately called the school and ratted him out. 

"My son has been stealing school lunch, I'm terribly sorry," I said. She laughed - apparently this happens a lot in kindergarten. She said I could put money into a lunch account for him online and that should take care of things.

They aren't going to prosecute, and I'm quite relieved. Being that one of his schoolmates is already calling him "Goldilocks," I don't think Oscar would fare well in the big house. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And so it Goes, or Something Like That

Well my friend Becky over at SubMat has inspired me to jot a little blog down here to tell you all what's the what around here. There is a lot of what around here folks. Where to start? Hows about the first day of kindergarten?

This is not a nervous boy. MW totally photo bombed every one of Oscar's first day pics.
As expected, I fretted and worried and fretted some more about Oscar's first day, particularly because we missed orientation so did not get to meet his teacher prior to the first day. In fact, we did not even get to know who she was until we walked to school.

There are four kindergartens in Oscar's school, and each teacher had made a handwritten list of her students on a piece of flip chart paper, along with her photo. We found Oscar's teacher then we stood around with a million other parents and kids, about 1/4 of whom were crying. One kid in Oscar's class was SOBBING and Nelson was like, "Don't let Oscar look at him!" as though his eyes would start burning or the crying was contagious.

We were allowed to walk the kids in, but only a couple of parents did that. I was, of course, one of them. I not only walked him into the building, but into his classroom and helped him find his seat. Then, I kissed him goodbye and tore myself from the room. He looked nervous, but happy.

I spent the next six hours staring at the clock and then walked down the street to scoop him him (Oscar walks to school) and when I asked how his day was he said, "It was awesome! I made a new friend Wilson and I got to meet the nurse!" Apparently, he'd been knocked down on the playground and skinned up his knee, but I just love how instead of being afraid of going back or sad about his injury, he was excited that he'd gotten to meet the school nurse on the first day. Score!

Nelson had made Oscar's cream cheese sandwich for lunch the first day and my boy confessed to throwing it out because there wasn't enough cream cheese. Then he whispered to me, "Dad isn't very good at making cream cheese sandwiches, but you are." Well, a girl's gotta be good at something right?

I want to tell you about the second day (today) because there were more things and confusion and breakfast lines and a lunch debacle but I feel like this post is already a little long and I don't want to overwhelm you kids on my first day back blogging.

So, you know, if you're lucky I'll be back tomorrow blogging about mystery meat and the new mom I met this morning. She has a tattoo on her earlobe. No joke.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sometimes everybody loses

We've been going through a difficult time at home with Oscar. His behavior has been it's very worst - impulsive, defiant, testing boundaries both here and at school.

It's been...a challenge, to say the least. It can be difficult dealing with a spirited, emotional child when you yourself are a spirited, emotional adult.

I have been working hard though, changing the way I parent, the language I use in my head to describe Oscar's behaviors, trying new strategies to help him recognize when he loses control and to help him regain control. It's hard because when he loses control, it makes me lose control so I have to work extra hard to keep myself in check because if I lose it, he loses it times three.

This has been a mostly good week. Like I said, we are doing things differently, talking to each other differently, listening differently, naming behaviors, developing solutions together. It hasn't been perfect - we are learning and changing together - but it has been better. I feel better and I know Oscar feels better.

Today was a difficult morning. Nelson was home, which is a change in routine and that is always tough on Oscar. When I got in the shower, I asked Nelson to get the boys moving getting dressed. When I got out of the shower, it became clear that Oscar had lost control and that Nelson was handling it poorly.

Now, I don't mean this as a criticism of Nelson. Oscar's behavior can be quite frustrating and infuriating when he's lost control. It can be a real challenge helping him regain control without losing it yourself, and I recognize this. We cannot be perfect parents all the time, and that's okay.

Oscar was running around the upstairs, laughing manically, ignoring Nelson, jumping on beds, throwing things and generally showing no impulse control whatsoever. As I got out of the shower I heard Nelson say, "Just go to your room! I don't even want to be around you right now!"

"No, Nelson, we do NOT speak to him that way," I told him and quickly jumped in to help Oscar regain control.

Oscar was still running, so I grabbed him, looked him in the eye, and said something like, "Oscar, you are misbehaving right now and you know that. I need you to go in your room, get your bunny and smell his paw for a minute so you can calm down." He went into his room, but it took a few more minutes of coaxing to get him to relax and listen. I explained that he needed to get dressed and that then he and I would pick out a book for his book share today.

He got up and starting leaving the room a few times, but I quickly reminded him that he needed to make the choice to calm himself down, and that he knew how to do that, and that I was confident he could. A few moments later, I came into his room and he was dressed and sorting through his books.

Unfortunately, that was only the first battle of the morning. He picked a fight we me again when I was packing his lunch and soliciting his input on what fruit he'd like. He wanted none. We compromised on a fruit leather.  But he was not happy. The words said by Nelson in the morning had a really negative impact.

When we got to school, he refused to get out of the car. I told him his actions would have consequences, and that he would not be allowed to have a fudgesicle after school.

He got out of the car, but ran away from me as we were walking up to school. I had to chase him and hold him by the wrist to get him into the building.

This is where I fell apart, because I was feeling embarrassed by his behavior, and angry because I'd been working so hard all morning and STILL Oscar could not keep it together. He went boneless and I had to physically drag him to his classroom while he laughed at me. I had to put hand sanitizer on his hands and lift him and place him, thrashing and crying, into his classroom. I passed him off to his teacher and left.

It was tough. I felt terrible. All the way back to the car, I kept thinking of all the things I should have done. I should have listened to him - he was telling me he was tired, that he did not want to go to school. I should have responded to him, validated him, reassured him that the day would be good. I should not have chased him or dragged him to his classroom. I should have waited patiently until he was ready to go.

I did so much right this morning, and yet I still managed to get it all wrong. It's definitely worth the effort, I know, but I'm feeling defeated and it's only 10:00 a.m.

Thankfully, I have three more hours to recharge before I pick him up and we try all this again.